Video telephony on Windows Phone Mango with Tango? Microsoft has now confirmed that the video chat app will be officially available on Windows Phone platform starting this November. Tango, the application to make video calls using your Windows Phone 7.5 smartphone, is about to arrive in the Windows Marketplace. It will be the first software app dedicated to video calling available for Microsoft’s mobile platform, beating Microsoft’s own Skype to the punch.
Despite the recent acquisition of Skype by Microsoft, Tango video calling and chat would be available first, outing Skype out of its own family rights. While Skype integration has been a focus for the company this year, extending support to social networks and mobile devices, Microsoft’s own plans with the IM service are still in the works.
The acquisition itself has been seen many obstacles these past weeks, and European regulators only recently gave a nod of approval earlier this month. While Microsoft plans to aggressively integrate Skype into its various products, including Windows Phone, the company had to turn to Tango as an immediate solution since many players already started rolling out smartphones with Windows Mango in the market for holiday sales. While Skype will eventually present an additional option alongside Mango in the future, Tango hopes to milk the limelight as the only video calling app provider on the Mango platform.
Tango is characterized by its cross-platform and free, basic voice and video calling capabilities. Video chat with Tango will be a closed system, similar to FaceTime, but will also run chat services between terminals using a different operating system. Tango is already available for iOS and Android, and operates on 450 devices, including some 30 tablets. Tango reports more than 25 million registered users, and 500,000 users every week are downloading the app on their devices.
“I think Microsoft sees video-calling as a killer app for holiday season sales [of Windows Phone devices],” said Tango founder and Chief Technology Officer Eric Setton in an interview with Forbes. “And no other video-calling company besides us will be out on Windows Phone [before the holidays].”
Skype SkypeKit and App Directory Unveiled
While Skype is missing out on early Windows Phone support, it’s still building up its ecosystem, especially for app integration. Skype has introduced a new version of the toolkit SkypeKit. It will facilitate the integration of IM with other applications and devices. The new API tool will allow you to use voice or video chat outside the computer or smartphone such as cars, television, and even watches.
The Developer Preview of SkypeKit 4.02 will allow developer to integrate Skype into their Windows, Mac and Linux desktop applications via SkypeKit for Desktop, or via the Skype Desktop API. The video APIs will allow developers to add video calling to desktop apps.
The first version of SkypeKit SDK was released in June last year. SkypeKit initially was available only for Linux, but soon it was added to versions for Windows and Mac OS X.
Skype has also launched its still fresh ‘App Directory’ as a full-fledged app store. The App store operates much like the Chrome marketplace, where you can view and download free and paid apps designed for use with Skype’s service. The apps are classified according to consumer and business needs, and feature information about the application, its release date, star ratings and comments, features, requirements, screenshots and more.
Infringement on Privacy, Track a Person using Skype
The proliferation and extended integration for Skype, however, means there’s more points of access for cyber-attacks. Researchers from the Polytechnic Institute of New York University have discovered that services like Skype can be used to track a person location. Location tracking could lead to serious privacy issues, which already is a hot topic in today’s technology world. Google’s been facing privacy concerns over its location-aware use of Google Street Views, while social networking giant Facebook’s Facial Recognition was found to have violated German laws.
“We conclude that any Internet user can leverage Skype, and potentially other real-time communications systems, to observe the mobility and file sharing usage of tens of millions of identified users,” the research paper notes.
Here is an excerpt from the paper as how one can able to track a person whereabouts using Skype:
“Specifically, if Alice knows Bob’s VoIP ID, she can establish a call with Bob and obtain his current IP address by simply sniﬃng the datagrams arriving to her computer. She can also use geo-localization services to map Bob’s IP address to a location and ISP. If Bob is mobile, she can call him periodically to observe his mobility over, say, a week or month. Furthermore, once she knows Bob’s IP address, she can crawl P2P ﬁle-sharing systems to see if that IP address is uploading/downloading any ﬁles. Thus VoIP can potentially be used to collect a targeted user’s location. And VoIP can potentially be combined with P2P ﬁle sharing to determine what a user is uploading/downloading. This would clearly be a serious infringement on privacy.”